Ausgewählte Texte aus der Carakasaṃhitā

Anhang B: Tierbeschreibungen

Semnopithecus sp.

zusammengestellt von Alois Payer

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Carakasaṃhitā: Ausgewählte Texte aus der Carakasaṃhitā / übersetzt und erläutert von Alois Payer <1944 - >. -- Anhang B: Tierbeschreibungen. -- Semnopithecus sp.  -- Fassung vom 2010-12-09. -- URL:           

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Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung SS 2007

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" His hide was very mangy, and his face was very red,
And ever and anon he scratched with energy his head.
His manners were not always nice, but how my spirit cried
To be an artless Bandar loose upon the mountain side !"
R. K.

OME of the respect in which these animals are held by Hindus is a reflection of the popularity of Hanuman, or (in Southern India) of Maruti, the monkey general of the great Hindu epic the devoted henchman of Ram Chandra, and a marvel of valour and address combined with gentleness. He has now become a god, and is one of the most widely worshipped of Hindu deities. Pictures and rude images are to be seen of him everywhere, but he is not represented in the more ancient Hindu sculptures. A notion exists among Hindus that the English may be his descendants through a female servant of the demon king, who had charge of Sita in captivity, and who treated the prisoner so well that Rama blessed her, prophesying that she should become the mother of a race that would possess the land, and whom Hanuman took to wife. This can scarcely be made out from the poem, but the tradition exists. Others, again, say that the English came from the "monkey army," which unlovely phrase is occasionally used to describe the British nation.

But, while the enthusiastic cult of Hanuman as a divinity is a comparatively modern development of Hinduism, the fondness of Hindus for monkeys is of very ancient date. Aelian describes the offerings of rice which are still customary, and at sacred places, as Benares, Ajodhia, and Muttra, they are regularly fed, and it is regarded as an abominable act of sacrilege to kill one. A large temple at Benares under the invocation of Durga (Devi, Kali, etc.) has swarms of monkeys attached to it, but they do not appear, as might be expected, to be usually attendant on shrines of the Monkey God himself. They naturally cluster round groves frequented by devotees of various kinds for the sake of scraps of food which they are sure to receive there, and because they are safe from molestation. Muhammadan saints as well as Hindu sādhus show kindness to these creatures, and it is quite intelligible that their gambols should serve to amuse the large and languid leisure of professional holiness.

The brown macacus rhesus is the commonest type and most frequently seen both in the hills and plains. Aelian in his description mixes up the Macaque with the true Hanuman, the tall, long -tailed, black -faced, white -whiskered langur (Presbytes illiger), clad in an overcoat of silver gray. The latter has a face that reminds one of Mr. Joel Harris's "Uncle Remus," and is, in his way, a king of the jungle, nor is he so frequently met with in confinement as his brown brother. In some parts of India troops of langurs come bounding with a mighty air of interest and curiosity to see the railway trains pass, their long tails uplifted like notes of interrogation ; but frequently, when fairly perched on wall or tree alongside, they seem to forget all about it, and avert their heads as you go by with an affectation of languid indifference. This may be a mark of the superiority of the monkey mind, or a sign that some threads were dropped when its fabric was woven. The black gibbon or hooluck (hylobates hooluck) is better known in Bengal and Assam, and is well adapted for captivity, if a pair can be secured, and the keeper does not object to a gentle, mournful, and timid animal, the spirit of the complaining dove in the form of a black djinn or demon with a voice like a pack of hounds in full cry. The hooluck is monogamous, and seems to have few of the vulgar monkey vices, but is a depressing companion.

In Assam, too, is found a dainty little monkey familiarly known as "the shame-faced one" a gentle, bashful, large-eyed creature, with a quaint trick of hiding its face in its hands and hanging its head like a timid child. It has a peculiarly soft and lustrous pelage of fine colour and texture. Under a benign rule of protection the monkey increases rapidly, and, being a daring and mischievous pilferer, becomes a serious nuisance.

One may hold a creature sacred and yet be thoroughly alive to all the faults of its character, and the monkey in ordinary talk is used pretty much as it is in Europe to point morals against wanton mischief, helplessness, and evil behaviour generally. Nor is it only in field and garden that its depredations are felt. Indian shops have no doors or windows, but are like large cupboards open to the street, in which food grains and other articles are exposed for sale ; and in towns where Hindus preponderate and a busy current of trade has not swept the streets, bulls, calves, parrakeets, sparrows, and monkeys take tolls which the dealer would fain prevent, but that he is few and fat, while the depredators are many and active. A stout grocer nodding among his store baskets, while a monkey, intently watching the sleeper's face, rapidly stuffs his cheek pouches with grain, is a common sight, as well as a comical one. Of late years the tradesmen who form the bulk of the members of our municipalities have felt that there are too many Hanumans abroad, and have ventured on proceedings that would not have been tolerated in the days of complete Brahmanical ascendency. Numbers of the marauders have been caught, caged, and despatched on bullock carts to places many miles distant. There they have been let loose, but, as the empty carts returned, the monkeys, quick to perceive and defeat the plan of their enemies, bounded gaily alongside, and trooped in through the city gates with the air of a holiday party returning from a picnic. From some riverside towns boat-loads have been taken across the Ganges ; but they dislike being marooned, and when they have failed to board the returning boats, have found others to carry them back. Railways, which have done much for Indian progress, offer facilities for deportation which monkey-ridden municipalities have been glad to seize. The station master at Saharunpore was recently troubled by a telegram advising him of the despatch of cars laden with monkeys, which he was requested to send out to be freed on the adjacent Sewalik hills. But the cages were broken in unloading the freight and the crowd got loose. Saharunpore is an Indian Crewe or Swindon in a small way, with a railway establishment, a Government Botanical garden and large private fruit gardens. The exiles invaded the busy workshops and lost their tempers, monkey fashion, among the driving bands and machinery, nor were they easily driven out. A large male was seen pulling the point-levers of a siding with the sudden petulance of his kind ; and another established himself between the double roofs of one of the inspection carriages used by railway officers on tour as houses, stealing from the pantry such trifles as legs of mutton, corkscrews, lamp glasses and dusters, articles for which a monkey can have but little use. The bulk of the company trooped into the gardens of the town, where the proprietors, being mainly Muhammadans with no respect for Hanuman, took measures of their own against the invasion.

An amusing case of monkey plunder occurred some years ago at Simla. The chief confectioner of the place had prepared a magnificent bride-cake, which was safely put by in a room that, like most Simla rooms, looked on the steep hillside. It is of little use, however, locking a door when the window is left open. So when they came to fetch the cake, the last piece of it was being handed out of the window by a chain of monkeys who had whitened the hillside with its fragments. A theft of this kind is mainly mischievous, for the wild monkey dislikes food mixed with butter, nor does he greatly care for sugar. A bride-cake, too, looks (and is to my humble taste) about as edible as a plaster cast, and one can scarcely understand how they discovered it was meant to be eaten. The creature has a passion for picking things to pieces. A flower or a fragile toy will amuse a monkey for a long time. If a bird falls into its hands it will not be released till it is plucked of every feather. If the bird resents the process, the monkey with an unconcerned air rubs its head vigorously on the ground. It would not be difficult to train a monkey to pluck fowls for use in the kitchen. It is often said that the monkey kills snakes by grinding the head on a stone, occasionally spitting on it, nor is the feat incredible to one who has observed the constant habit of rubbing things on the ground and holding them up for inspection. Yet in spite of this belief, a popular saying, expressing a dilemma or an opportunity that cannot be turned to profit, is "Like a snake in a monkey's hand." He is afraid of it, but he will not let go. Natives also say that monkeys rob birds' nests and destroy eggs and young in pure malice.

The fastidiousness of the wild monkey's taste is curious, considering the precarious existence it leads. Daily for some months my family and myself were interested in a troop of wild monkeys, which we regularly fed, trying them with very various food. Once we gave them biscuits which, from lying in a dealer's shop, had acquired that peculiarly stale, tinny flavour which Anglo-Indians know too well. They had been accustomed to eat the same kind of biscuit when fresh, and scrambled as usual for the fragments, but after the first bite they made comical mouths of dislike, spat out vigorously, rubbed the biscuit on their sides, on the ground, examined it carefully, and seemed to conclude, "Yes, it's the same as yesterday," tried again, and then chattered and grinned in wrath and disgust. But they soon learned to discriminate by smell merely.

Like the over-wise crow, which is apt to outwit itself by futile cunning, the monkey is most ingeniously suspicious. Our friends grew bold with encouragement, but their manners were never friendly ; with the exception of one which had evidently escaped from confinement. We managed to entrap the creature, and having removed its hateful collar, set it free again. My daughter could coax this experienced person into a room and it would open her hand to take grain, keeping a sharp look-out on the open door. All the rest were keenly suspicious, and irritable. They seemed to circumvent each morsel and, having won it, defied us with angry eyes to take it back again, regarding our free gift as a triumph of their own finesse. This is natural enough when we consider that for generations the monkey folk have been chased from field and garden plot with shouting. They were in no fear for their lives, and had learned the very human satisfaction of defying an enemy from a safe distance. This shallow cunning has deeply impressed the minds of the people. They say it is absolutely impossible to poison a monkey. For ages this belief has been rooted in the minds of Orientals. Al Masudi, who compiled his Arabic encyclopaedia "meadows of gold and mines of gems" in the tenth century, wrote that most Chinese and Hindu kings keep wise but dumb monkeys as tasters for their tables, relying implicitly on their judgment of what is poisoned and what is wholesome. A native gentleman told me of a cultivator in the hills whose crops and garden were so seriously injured that he determined to get rid of his enemies. So he daily set out platters of boiled rice which they greedily ate. When they had  learned the habit of coming in crowds, he one day set out rice poisoned with a tasteless drug. He heard a great chatter and whining round his treacherous platters, and saw a council sitting round the untasted food in earnest debate. Presently they rose and scampered away, but soon returned, each bearing twigs and leaves of a plant which their instinct taught them was an antidote to the poison. With these they stirred and mixed the rice, which they afterwards ate with their usual relish, returning the next morning for more, absolutely unharmed. This story is also told, mutatis mutandis, of an attempt made by a Sikh noble, Sirdar Lehna Singh Majithia, to poison troublesome monkeys at the sacred town of Hurdwar. When you believe that monkeys are capable of speech and only refrain from speaking for fear that they would be made to work, it is easy to credit them with a knowledge of chemistry.

Belief in their ability to speak is widely current in India, and the notion is not unknown in the West. But while native credulity will swallow the impossible with ease, native observation is not without keenness. The inability of the monkey to make for itself a shelter against the heavy rains of the country is noted in proverbs. It is really curious that in the Simla region, where are many built-out roads forming dry refuges of quite natural aspect, they are never resorted to. Troops of monkeys will sit shivering for hours in driving storms within a few yards of covered spaces, which seem as if specially provided for their shelter and comfort.

Their daily life is interesting to watch. The scheme seems to be patriarchal with a touch of military organisation, for they move and plunder in a sort of formation, and the patriarch is at once commander-in-chief and effective fighting force. Its main fact is the tyranny of the leading male of each troop, who grows to a great size, with immensely powerful shoulders. He develops large canine teeth, which some observant Hindu draughtsmen take care to grace their pictures of Hanumān withal. These are used unsparingly on the younger male members of the troop, in fighting for his place of power, and on disobedient females. "The demon" was the familiar name we gave to a leader with whom we were well acquainted. He seemed to be always angry and was easily moved to a paroxysm of rage, when he used worse language than any permitted to man, for there was a savage force and variety in his grunting fury which made one thankful he was untranslatable. He took the lion's share of everything, especially resenting that the rising bachelors of the troop should have a chance. Mothers and babies were merely cuffed aside from a morsel, but there was ruthless war between him and all who might become his rivals. No more perfect picture of headlong, desperate terror can be imagined than a young man-monkey plunging and bounding in reckless flight down the hillside, pursued as he screams by a livid and grunting elder. Natives may well call the monkey sire Maharaja, for he is the very type and incarnation of savage and sensual despotism. They are right, too, in making their Hanuman red, for the old male's face is of the dusky red you see in some elderly, over-fed, human faces.

Like human Maharajas, they have their tragedies and mayhap their romances. One morning there came a monkey chieftain, weak and limping, having evidently been worsted in a severe fight with another of his own kind. One hand hung powerless, his face and eyes bore terrible traces of battle, and he hirpled slowly along with a pathetic air of suffering, supporting himself on the shoulder of a female, a wife, the only member of his clan who had remained faithful to him after his defeat We threw them bread and raisins, and the wounded warrior carefully stowed the greater part away in his cheek pouch. The faithful wife, seeing her opportunity, sprang on him, holding fast his one sound hand, and opening his mouth she deftly scooped out the store of raisins. Then she sat and ate them very calmly at a safe distance, while he mowed and chattered in impotent rage. He knew that without her help he could not reach home, and was fain to wait with what patience he might till the raisins were finished. It was a sad sight, but, like more sad sights, touched with the light of comedy. This was probably her first chance of disobedience or of self-assertion in her whole life, and I am afraid she thoroughly enjoyed it. Then she led him away, possibly to teach him more salutary lessons of this modern and "advanced" sort, so that at the last he would go to another life with a meek and chastened soul.

Monkey mothers are tender to their little ones, with a care that endears them to the child-loving Oriental. The babies are quaint little mites with the brown hair that afterwards stands up crest-wise, parted in the middle of their brows ; their wistful faces are full of wrinkles, and their mild hazel eyes have a quick glancing timidity, that well suits their pathetic, lost, kitten-like cry. Yet even in the forest there are frisky matrons. I have seen a mother monkey, disturbed in her gambols on the ground by the whining of a tiny baby left half-way up an adjacent tree, suddenly break off, and hastily shinning up the tree, snatch up the baby, hurry to the very topmost branch, where she plumped it down as who should say, "Tiresome little wretch !" and then come down to resume her play. Thus is a mischievous midshipman mast-headed, and thus is the British baby sent up to the nursery while mamma amuses herself. Natives say that when monkey babies die the mothers often go mad, and that in the excess of their affection they occasionally squeeze their offspring to death. It is at least certain that a mother monkey will carry with her for weeks the dried and dead body of her little one, nursing and petting it as if it were alive. In defence of the little ones the sires will fight savagely, as is their duty. I knew a fat fox terrier, the dream of whose life was to catch a monkey. Once it came true, and for half a minute, said a man who saw, he held a baby monkey. I was indoors at the time, but as the dog passed me to take refuge under a chair, I knew from his solemn silence that something had happened. The leader monkey had fallen upon him and inflicted three frightful bites more like deep knife-cuts than the work of teeth which seemed likely to prove fatal ; but first-rate surgical skill was available, and Bob was saved to carefully avoid monkeys in future.

A quaint episode of our acquaintanceship with monkey folk was the arrival during one of our levees of one of the wandering performers who lead about tame monkeys with a goat that serves them as charger. The wild monkeys drew off at first suspiciously, but when the man sat down to his performance and made their tame brethren dance, put on strange raiment, and mount the goat, they crept closer with horrified curiosity and evident disgust. The tame monkeys off duty regarded their free kinsmen with listless indifference, and the artiste at work never seemed to glance at them, though they watched him with jealous and angry eyes, much, I imagine, as labourers on strike watch blacklegs.

There is a belief that during severe winters wild monkeys, instead of furtively hanging about the grocers' shops and watching their chance to steal, come into Simla streets in bands and stand whining like beggars asking for alms. But there is only native authority for this story. It is just possible they may have been so hard pressed as to seek human help, but it is an immense step for such wild and distrustful creatures to take. Some shopkeepers habitually feed them, and they may have whined at a place where they missed their daily dole.

A wistful, watchful melancholy seems to be the normal mood of the mature monkey, broken by sudden flashes of interest which change as suddenly into indifference or abstraction. Few animals seem to spend so much time in sitting and looking about them, while only the birds can command more lofty posts of observation. Among men, some sailors and many Orientals have a similar faculty of tranquil outlooking. But the sudden flash of interest in a triviality and its abrupt cessation remind one more of lunacy than of sane humanity.

Their life is hard and hungry, and as the creatures lope disconsolately along in the rain, or crouch on branches with dripping backs set against the tree trunk as a shelter from the driving storm, they have the air of being very sorry for themselves. Consumption is not unknown among them, and a monkey's cough, heard through the drip of the forest on a wet night, is a dismal sound. But when the sun shines the younger ones play like schoolboys. They have a game like the English boys' cock of the dung-hill or king of the castle, but instead of pushing each other from the top of a knoll or dust-heap, the castle is a pendent branch of a tree. The game is to keep a place on the bough, which swings with their weight as with a cluster of fruit while the players struggle to dislodge one another, each, as he drops, running round and climbing up again to begin anew. This sport is kept up for an hour at a time with keen enjoyment, and when one is nimble as a monkey it must be splendid fun.

The way of a ship on the sea may be strange, but the path of a monkey through tree-land is no less surprising. At one moment a creature is in tranquil meditation on the creation of the world or the origin of evil, at the next it has thrown itself backward apparently into illimitable space, but at the right instant a bough is seized and the animal swings to another and another with infallible certainty. The larger langur does not seem to play concerted games, and his movements have a bolder sweep and abandonment. He travels on a more lofty story of the tree -terraces, progressing through the pines in a succession of leaping feats, performed with the ease, deliberation, and precision of perfect gymnastic art. The scenery which nature has assigned to this performance gives an impression of freedom which makes the thought of confinement infamous.

On the plains life would appear to be easier, for there is an almost constant succession of fruits and edible leaves in the jungles, and the crops are more accessible. Thievish monkeys sometimes haunt the halting-places of travellers. A friend of mine halted at a parao or stage where was a grove of mango-trees affording grateful shade to travellers, and while resting, he watched a little comedy. Apart from the others, a Hindu was preparing his evening meal. In one pot over the fire a stew of pulse was boiling, while he kneaded dough and baked the invariable wheaten flapjacks. As each cake is taken from the iron griddle plate it is stuck edgewise in the hot embers till all are ready, when they are piled together. This was done, and the Hindu turned to set the ghi pot and drinking vessels in order and to hail his companion to come to dinner. While his back was turned, a big monkey dropped from the boughs overhead, seized the pile of cakes, and was off in a flash. Now the baking of bread is a semi-ritualistic business, involving a good deal of labour, and it was a very angry Hindu who received in his face one of the hot flap-jacks dropped by the monkey clutching his prize with awkward fingers above. Then the other man came and swore too, but the monkey swore the worst, irritated by the heat of his plunder, which, however, he was determined not to let go. The watchman of the stage assured my friend that this trick was a frequent occurrence, for that particular monkey was "as cunning as a baniya (or tradesman) and as daring as a thug (highway robber) a very demon of a monkey." Yet it had never occurred to him or to the robbed travellers to take measures against it.

It may be that "advanced India" will in time give up the protection of the monkey, but there are hitherto no signs of a change in popular feeling. In April 1886, in the highly civilised and cosmopolitan city of Bombay, a Hindu of good position was in danger of losing every social privilege of his caste and of undergoing an ostracism more complete than any imagined by Athenian citizen or Irish Land -leaguer, because he was said to have allowed a European officer of police to shoot a troublesome monkey from the window of his house. The officer had been invited by the people to rid them of the creature, and its death was frankly acknowledged as a relief, but the letter of the law forbade the murder. Officers of government are careful not to wound the feelings of the people with reference both to monkeys and peacocks, a delicacy which does not always restrain the hungry low-caste man.

A collector and magistrate of a district in Hindustan proper had been out shooting, and was returning to camp. On a tree on the other side of the Ganges Canal, along which he was walking, sat a monkey. The animal seemed almost out of range, and my friend idly pointed his gun and fired in its direction with intent to startle it, but, to his dismay, the monkey fell and lay dead. Fortunately no one was near, and at night this worshipful magistrate, whose word was law for leagues round, stole out alone with a lantern, taking a long round to the nearest bridge, to look for his victim. It was not easily found, and never, even on the judicial bench, did he so keenly realise the feelings of a murderer trying to hide the evidences of his guilt. He succeeded in disposing of the body, and returned to camp determined never to point a gun at a monkey again.

Another friend of mine had for neighbour a Hindu devotee of great repute and sanctity, whose hut, besides being a resort of gamblers and bad characters, had a large retinue of monkeys that were fed by visitors. The animals wrought great havoc in my friend's garden, whereupon in his irritation he threatened to shoot them. The Sadhu took the will for the deed, and fulminated a curse against the Englishman as terrible as that which the Archbishop of Rheims inflicted on the jackdaw. He was filled with a holy joy when my friend fell ill, and desponded when he recovered.

St. Francis de Sales wrote : "I am despised and I grow angry ; so does the peacock or the monkey." This is more like an Oriental than a Western word. The irritable monkey is ready to be angry at anything. The Oriental, however, considers the monkey apart from his sacred affinity with Hanuman, a type, not so much of petulance, as of untrustworthiness. "What is a monkey's friendship worth ?" he asks, and he says in scorn of a trivial and foolish person "a tailless monkey." "A cocoa-nut in a monkey's hand," stands for ill-bestowed gifts or gear and for ineptitude, for the creature cannot get at the kernel, having neither strength nor wit to break the shell.

"A flower in a monkey's hand" is a common Malay expression to a similar purpose.

"One monkey does not tell another monkey that his buttocks are red" is a homely word with obvious uses. There are ten things, says a proverb, which may not be depended upon "A courtesan, a monkey, fire, water, a procuress, an army, a distiller, a tailor, a parrot, and a goldsmith." The selection is significant, and in India just. In the stables of the wealthy a monkey is often kept to attract to itself stray influences of the evil eye, that ever-present bogy of the East. So there is a saying, "What goes wrong in the stable falls on the monkey's head." This can be used in daily life by those frequent persons who habitually fancy themselves wrongly accused.

It is unlucky to utter the word monkey in the morning, but lucky to see one before breakfast. "Speak of a monkey or an owl in the morning and you'll get no breakfast."

In the Ramayana of Tulsi Dass, (a relatively modern version of the great epic poem in which the Hindus delight) a method of catching monkeys by means of a bait of grain in a narrow-mouthed jar is spoken of as an example of the metaphysical principle of illusion which makes so great a figure in Hindu cobweb philosophy. The monkey is supposed to fill his fist so full that he is unable to withdraw it, and has not the wit to let go his spoil and release himself. This is quite reasonable enough for a metaphysical illustration. A more practical form of illusion is to put some grain in a clear glass bottle and hand it to a monkey. It tries to seize the grain, then, concluding the distance was not properly judged, it takes a careful sight along the bottle, and, with a diverting air of great astuteness, passes a slow hand down and gives a sudden clutch. After one or two attempts it loses temper and interest. Similarly, the illusion of a mirror puzzles a young dog when he is first introduced to it, and, according to his character and temper, interests and excites him, but after a short time he gives it up and waits for more facts, like the philosopher he is. A foolish cock-sparrow, on the other hand, will nearly kill himself in fighting his reflection.

Does the survival of respect for monkeys, amounting at times to a definite acknowledgment of kinship, indicate the early arrival of Hindu philosophers at the latest conclusion of European Evolutionists ? Modern Hindu students of the Vedas and other ancient records draw from those vague depths material to support such theories as the Hindu discovery of America and the founding of the ruined cities of its central region ; with the use of balloons, railways, and contrivances like the electric telegraph. A slender verbal hint suffices to give a complacent sense of having once at least marched in the foremost files of time. But they would be on more plausible, if not more solid ground in essaying to show that the Hindu respect for life, the admission of the essential unity of the life-spark, whether in man or moss, and the special regard for the ancestral monkey, its deification, and the traditions of its aptitude for speech, labour, and war, were proofs that the philosophy of the East has for ages sat in tranquil occupation of a peak of discovery to which the vanguard of Western science has but now attained."

[Quelle: : Kipling, John Lockwood <1837-1911>: Beast and man in India : a popular sketch of Indian animals in their relations with the people. -- London ; New York : Macmillan, 1904. -- xii, 401 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- S. 56 - 74. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-10-25]



Genus Semnopithecus.

With this group of long-tailed Asiatic monkeys, we come to the first of three nearly allied genera, all of which are characterised by their extremely slender and "lanky" build, by the excessive length of their tails, by the legs being longer than their arms, and by the absence of cheek-pouches. All the above characteristics can be verified in the living animal, but there is one other for the examination of which we must turn to the dissecting-room of the anatomist. This internal character relates to the stomach, which, instead of having the simple bladder-like form which it assumes in all other members of the order, is divided into a number of pouches or sacs. When the peculiar pouched stomach was first described scarcely anything was known as to the habits and food of the monkeys in which it is found. Sir Richard Owen, however, sagaciously suggested that from the analogy presented by this peculiar type of stomach to that which characterises the Ruminating Hoofed Mammals, as well as some other vegetable-feeding animals, it would be found that the food of these monkeys consisted in great part of leaves. This suggestion has been fully confirmed by subsequent observations ; and although the habits of the langurs are still but imperfectly known, yet it is stated by Mr. W. T. Blanford that they are more purely herbivorous than those monkeys which are provided with cheek-pouches, and that a very considerable portion of their food consists of leaves and the tender shoots and young twigs of trees. The presence of this remarkable kind of stomach is, indeed, as we have already mentioned, a kind of compensation for the absence of cheek-pouches ; it being more suited to the needs of these animals than the pouches would be.

The langurs are so-called from the name applied by the natives of Northern India to those species of the group which inhabit the outer ranges of the Himalaya.

Langurs, which are known in Germany as Schlankaffen, or slender monkeys, are found over a large portion of South-Eastern Asia, being especially abundant in India and Burma, and represented by one species in the highlands of Tibet.

As their German name implies, the bodies and limbs of these monkeys are exceedingly slender ; while the tail is so long that very generally, and invariably in all the species from India, Ceylon, and Burma, it is actually longer than the whole length of the head and body together. This is well shown in our figure of the true langur or hanuman monkey.

In all the species the thumb is well developed ; this being a character of great importance, as the chief one by which these monkeys are distinguished from some closely allied African monkeys. The row of long stiff black hairs seen in our figure, projecting from above the eyebrows of the langurs, is another feature by which these monkeys may be easily recognised. Further, the skulls of all the langurs may be readily distinguished from those of all other monkeys, with the exception of the allied African group mentioned above, by the circumstance that the aperture for the nostrils, which is exceedingly narrow, extends upwards between the sockets for the eyes, instead of stopping at about the level of their lower border.

Almost the earliest account that we have of the langurs relates to those of Ceylon, and was given in the year 1681 by one Robert Knox, an English seaman, who for nearly twenty years had been a prisoner in that island. Knox says that some of the Singalese monkeys "are as large as our English spaniel dogs, of a darkish-grey colour, and black faces, with great white beards round from ear to ear, which make them show just like old men. They do but little mischief, keeping inthe woods, eating only leaves and buds of trees ; but when they are catched they will eat anything. This sort they call in their language wanderows (wanderus)."

This account has been thought to apply to the lion-tailed monkey (a macaque), which was formerly incorrectly called the Wanderu. That monkey is, however, black ; and there is not the slightest doubt but that Knox described the langurs, which are the wanderus of the Singalese.

THE HANUMAN, OR TRUE LANGUR (Semnopithecus entellus).

Perhaps the best known of all the langurs, and the one which gives the scientific name to the genus, is the hanuman monkey, or true langur, of which we give a figure.

This fine monkey is found throughout the northern part of Peninsular India, from South-Western Bengal and Orissa to Gujerat and Bombay, and is also found in Kattywar, and probably Katch, although unknown in Sind and the Punjab. Southwards it ranges into the Bombay Deccan; while its extreme northern limit extends to the outer ranges of the Himalaya, although there is still some doubt as to where the range of this species ends and that of the next begins.

The hanuman is one of four species of Indian langurs, characterised by having the hair covering the crown of the head radiating in all directions from a central point situated on the forehead. It is distinguished from its allies by the absence of any crest of hair on the head, of which the colour is scarcely, if at all, paler than that of the back ; and by the full black colour of the upper surfaces of the hands and feet. The hair of the cheeks does not cover the relatively large ears. The general colour is greyish-brown, paler in some individuals than in others ; but the face, ears, feet, and hands, are coal-black. In size a large male hanuman will measure some 30 inches in head and body ; but average specimens will be about 25 inches, while their tail will measure as much as 38. As Mr. Sterndale has well observed, "the tout ensemble of the langur is so peculiar that no one who has once been told of a long, loose-limbed, slender monkey, with a prodigious tail, black face, and overhanging brows of long, stiff, black hair, projecting like a penthouse, would fail to recognise the animal."

Langurs are exceedingly common throughout a large part of India, and in most districts are held sacred by the Hindus, by whom they are allowed to plunder the grain-shops at will. Mr. Sterndale considers, however, that the best times of the hanuman are over, and that it is not now allowed the free run of the bazaars so readily as it once was, while in some districts the aid of Europeans has even been invoked to rid the natives from the devastations of these monkeys, which take their name from the god Hanuman, to whom they are sacred.

As Mr. W. T. Blanford observes, the protection accorded to the hanuman by the Hindus of Northern India has caused these animals to be so tame, and so utterly disregardless of the presence of man, that there are but few mammals whose habits can be so well observed. The same writer states that " the hanuman is usually found in smaller or larger communities, composed of individuals of both sexes and of all ages, the youngest clinging to their mothers, and being carried by them, especially when alarmed. An old male is occasionally found solitary, as with so many other mammals. The story that males and females live in separate troops, though apparently believed by Blyth and quoted by Jerdon, I agree with Hutton in regarding as fictitious, though, as the latter observer justly remarks, females with very young offspring may keep together, and temporarily apart from the remainder of the troop to which they belong."

In regard to the cry of these langurs, Mr. Blanford observes that " their voice is loud, and is often heard, especially in the morning and evening. The two commonest sounds emitted by them are a loud, joyous, rather musical call, a kind of whoop, generally uttered when they are bounding from tree to tree, and a harsh guttural note, denoting alarm or anger. The latter is the cry familiar to the tiger-hunter, amongst whose best friends is the hanuman. Safely ensconced in a lofty tree, or jumping from one tree to another, as the tiger moves, the monkey by gesture and cry points out the position of his deadly enemy in the bushes or grass beneath, and swears at him heartily. It is marvellous to observe how these monkeys, even in the wildest forests where human beings are rarely seen, appear to recognise men as friends, or at least as allies against the tiger. It is a common but erroneous notion of sportsmen that this guttural cry is a sure indication of a tiger or leopard having been seen, whereas the monkeys quite as often utter it merely as an expression of surprise ; I have heard it caused by the sight of deer running away, and I believe that it is frequently due to the monkeys catching sight of men."

The food of the hanuman consists largely of leaves and young shoots, and also grain of all kinds, especially in the towns. In disposition the hanuman is gentle, and appears never to attack human beings. Its constitution is delicate when in captivity, probably from the want of suitable food, but the species is generally well represented in the London Zoological Society's Gardens.

That troops of langurs sometimes engage in fierce contests is proved by an interesting account given by Mr. T. H. Hughes, from which the following extract is taken. Mr. Hughes says that "in April 1882, when encamped at the village of Singpur in the Sohagpur district of the Rewa State, my attention was attracted to a restless gathering of hanumans in the grove adjoining the one in which my tent was pitched ; and, wishing to form some idea as to its cause, I strolled to where the excitement was greatest, and found two opposing troops engaged in demonstrations of an unfriendly character. Two males of one troop, fair-sized brutes, and one of another, a splendid-looking fellow of stalwart proportions, were walking round and displaying their teeth. The solitary gladiator headed a much smaller following than that captained by the other two, and, strange to say, instead of the whole number of monkeys joining in a general melee, the fortune of thequestion that had to be decided appeared to have been intrusted to the representative champions. It was some time, at least a quarter of an hour, before actual hostilities took place, when, having got within striking distance, the two monkeys made a rush at their adversary. I saw their arms and teeth going viciously, and then the throat of one of the aggressors was ripped right open, and he lay dying. He had done some damage, however, before going under, having wounded his opponent in the shoulder ; and matters then seemed pretty evenly balanced between the remaining stragglers. I confess that my sympathies were with the one champion who had gallantly withstood the charge of his enemies ; and I fancy the tide of victory would have been in his favour had the odds against him not been reinforced by the advance of two females. I felt that the fight was not a fair one, but was deterred from interfering by a wish to see what the end of the affray would be, and the end, so far as the solitary hanuman was concerned, soon came. Each female flung herself upon him, and though he fought his enemies gallantly, one of the females succeeded in seizing him. Possibly he would have been killed outright had I not been present, but when I saw him so helpless, I interfered on the chance of being able to save him. He was, however, hopelessly mutilated, and before the morning he was dead. Not one of his own troop came to his aid. I presume they were either awed by the array of numbers on the other side, or they had full confidence in their leader. Had they assisted, they might in the end have been better off, for the result of the defeat of their champion was that the whole of the aggressors entered upon a guerilla warfare, and, isolating several of the members of the weaker troop, kept them prisoners under surveillance. Whenever the latter tried to break away, their guards stopped them, and then effectually watched them by occupying every piece of vantage-ground. One female with a young one was most viciously chased, and when, in her efforts to escape her enemies, she climbed to one of the highest limbs of a big tree, those in pursuit actually shook the branch on which she was, and jerked her to the ground. The fall was a nasty one, and she was so badly hurt that in the course of the night she went to swell the list of the fatally wounded. The defeated troops were thoroughly cowed, for one of the number actually allowed me to approach it quite closely without moving. I certainly do not ascribe the onslaught I saw to sexual excitement. It was plainly an incursion of a stronger troop into the domain of a weaker one ; and, under mistaken counsel, the weaker hesitated too long in yielding their feeding ground."

THE HIMALAYAN LANGUR (Semnopithecus schistaceus).

Very closely related to the hanuman is the Himalayan langur (S. schistaceus), so closely indeed that Dr. John Anderson considers it ought only to be reckoned as a variety of that species. In the opinion of Mr. Blanford our most recent authority on Indian Mammals it is, however, considered to be entitled to rank as a well-marked species ; and this observer gives the following characters by which it may be distinguished from the hanuman. The Himalayan species is characterised "by being somewhat larger, although there is probably no great difference between large individuals of both species, by the head being much paler in colour than the back, and by the feet being but little, if at all, darker than the limbs ; by the smaller ears, and by their being concealed by the long hair of the cheeks ; by the form of the skull."

This species is found throughout the greater part of the Himalaya proper, ranging from Bhutan in the south-east to the Kashmir valley and adjacent regions in the north-west. It appears not to be found below five thousand feet, and in the interior of Sikhim it ranges as high as twelve thousand feet. One of the first, if not actually the first record of the occurrence of the Himalayan langur in the interior of Sikhim will be found in Sir J. W. Hooker's Himalayan Journals. The author of that charming book of travel says, on arriving at a Tatar village, at an elevation of about nine thousand feet, "I saw a troop of large monkeys gamboling in a wood of Abies brunoniana ; this surprised me, as I was not prepared to find so tropical an animal associated with a vegetation typical of a boreal climate."

Other writers have observed these langurs in the outer ranges of the Himalaya in the neighbourhood of the hill stations of Simla or Mussuri, leaping from bough to bough of the snow-clad pines and deodars. And the present writer was himself once sufficiently fortunate to behold a similar sight when crossing a pass called the Rutten Pir, in the mountains to the south of the valley of Kashmir. On a sudden, when passing through a forest composed partly of pines and deodar cedars and partly of rhododendrons, a whole troop of these langurs dashed across the path, springing from tree to tree, and scattering in all directions the thick wreaths of snow with which the dark fir boughs were concealed ; the season of the year being the middle of the spring.

In the autumn these langurs are to be found in large droves in the extensive forests of the higher valleys surrounding Kashmir. Here they are a decided nuisance to the hunter, as their cries will not unfrequently alarm the deer or bear which he may be pursuing. Desirous of securing a skull, the writer was once tempted to shoot a large male out of one of these droves; but the cries and expression of the poor wounded brute were so human-like that he never again could persuade himself to shoot a monkey of any kind.

THE MADRAS LANGUR (Semnopithecus priamus).

In Madras and Ceylon the hanuman is represented by an allied species known as the Madras langur (S. priamus), distinguished by possessing a distinct crest of hair on the crown of the head, and by the upper surfaces of the feet and hands not being black. The following account of the habits of this species is taken from Sir J. Emerson Tennent's Natural History of Ceylon, where all the langurs are known as wanderus. The Madras langur "inhabits the northern and eastern districts and the wooded hills which occur in these portions of the island. In appearance it differs both in size and colour from the common wanderu (S. cephalopterus), being larger and more often greyish ; and in habits it is much less reserved. At Jaffna, and in other parts of the island where the population is numerous, these monkeys become so familiarised with the presence of man as to exhibit the utmost daring and indifference. A flock of them will take possession of a palmyra palm ; and so effectually can they crouch and conceal themselves among the leaves that, on the slightest alarm, the whole party becomes invisible in an instant. The presence of a dog excites, however, such an irrepressible curiosity that, in order to watch his movements, they never fail to betray themselves. They may frequently be seen congregated on the roof of a native hut ; and, some years ago, the child of a European clergyman stationed near Jaffna, having been left on the ground by the nurse, was so teased and bitten by them as to cause its death."

The Malabar langur (S. hypoleucus), which is common not only in the forests, but likewise on the cultivated lands fringing the Malabar coast, is the last member of the group in which the hair of the crown of the head radiates from a single point on the forehead."



THE NILGIRI LANGUR (Semnopithecus johni).

With the Nilgiri langur we come to the first of a large group of langurs, in which the hair of the crown, instead of radiating from one or more points on the forehead, is uniformly directed backwards without any trace of parting.

This species, which derives its Latin name from a former member of the Danish factory at Tranquebar in Madras, belongs to a subgroup characterised by the absence of a crest of hair on the crown of the head ; the hair of the crown itself being not longer than that on the temples and the nape of the neck.

The Nilgiri langur is a comparatively small species ; the length of the head and body varying from about 21 to 23 inches, and that of the tail from 32 to 35 ; though larger individuals are occasionally met with. The hair of the body is long, fine, and glossy ; and the general colour black to blackish-brown, with the exception of the head and rump, of which the former is brownish-yellow, and the latter ashy-grey. The young of this monkey are black throughout, and this appears to be the case in the next species. The character serves, therefore, to distinguish these langurs very markedly from those of the preceding group, in which, as we have seen, the young are light-coloured ; and it may be taken as an indication that the present group is the most specialised of all the langurs, not only having acquired the black tint in the adult, but even in the earlier stages of their existence.

As its name implies, it is found in the Nilgiri Mountains (or Hills as they are commonly called by Anglo-Indians) of Southern India; and its range extends from the Wynaad southwards to Cape Comorin.

According to Mr. W. T. Blanford, this langur "is shy and wary, the result of human persecution. It inhabits the sholas, or dense but abruptly limited woods of the Nilgiris, and other high ranges of Southern India, and is also found in the forests on the slopes of the hills, usually in small troops of from five to ten individuals. It is very noisy, having a loud guttural alarm-cry, used also to express anger, and a long loud call. Jerdon relates that when the sholas of the Nilgiri range were beaten for game, these monkeys made their way rapidly and with loud cries to the lowest portion, and thence to a neighbouring wood at a lower level. In consequence of the beauty of their skins, and the circumstance that certain castes eat their flesh, these monkeys are more frequently shot than most of the Indian species, hence their shyness."

THE PURPLE-FACED MONKEY (Semnopithecus cephalopterus).

The purple-faced monkey is the representative of this group in the island of Ceylon. It is known to be liable to considerable variations of colour, and at least, in a popular work like the present, we may follow Dr. Anderson in regarding the Singalese langurs known as the white monkey (S. senex), and the bear monkey (S. ursinus) as nothing more than well-marked varieties of this species.

There is a ready means of distinguishing the purple-faced monkey from the Nilgiri langur. In the latter the cheeks are of the same brown colour as the rest of the head, in the former they are always much paler than the crown.

Typically this species is of small size, the length of the head and body being only 20 inches, and that of the tail 24J inches. The so-called bear monkey is, however, somewhat larger ; the length of the head and body being 21, and that of the tail 26 inches. In colour the typical purple-faced monkey varies from dusky- to smoky-brown and black, more or less tinged with grey on the back and upper parts, this grey being always present on the haunches. In the head the long whiskers on the cheeks stand out in striking contrast to the brown hue of the rest of the head. Some varieties are more decidedly brown; and in the bear monkey dusky-brown is the prevalent hue, with complete absence of the grey on the haunches. The white monkey, which we are disposed to regard merely as a variety of this species, is a curious-looking animal, being of a general yellowish-white colour, with a faint brownish tinge on the head, and tending to a dusky hue on the shoulders and down the middle of the back. The face and ears retain the usual black colour, but the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet are flesh-coloured.

The typical form is found over the greater part of Ceylon at low or moderate elevations, and apparently not ascending above some thirteen thousand feet above the sea-level. The bear and white monkeys are, however, confined to the southern parts of Ceylon, and ascend to much greater elevations ; the former variety being especially abundant in the high mountains in the neighbourhood of the town of Newera Ellia.

Sir Emerson Tennent, writing of the typical purple-faced monkey, which he terms the wanderu of the low country, says that it is far the commonest of the Singalese langurs, and that "it is an active and intelligent creature, little larger than the common bonneted macaque, and far from being so mischievous as the other monkeys in the island. In captivity it is remarkable for the gravity of its demeanour, and for an air of melancholy in its expression and movements which are completely in character with its snowy beard and venerable aspect. In disposition it is gentle and confiding, sensible in the highest degree of kindness, and eager for endearing affection, uttering a low plaintive cry when its sympathies are excited. It is particularly cleanly in its habits when domesticated, and spends much of its time in trimming its fur, and carefully divesting its hair of particles of dust. Those which I kept at my house near Colombo were chiefly fed upon plantains and bananas, but for nothing did they exhibit a greater partiality than the rose-coloured flowers of the red hibiscus. These they devoured with unequivocal gusto; they likewise relished the leaves of many other trees, and even the bark of a few of the more succulent ones."

After referring to the white monkey, which he regards as merely a variety of the lowland wanderu, Sir Emerson Tennent proceeds with his account of the latter, and states that "when observed in their native wilds, a party of twenty or thirty of these creatures is generally busily engaged in the search for berries and buds. They are seldom to be seen on the ground, except when they may have descended to recover seeds or fruit which have fallen at the foot of their favourite trees. When disturbed, their leaps are prodigious ; but, generally speaking, their progress is made not so much by leaping as by swinging from branch to branch, using their powerful arms alternately ; and, when baffled by distance, flinging themselves obliquely so as to catch the lower boughs of an opposite tree, the momentum caused by their descent being sufficient to cause a rebound of the branch, that carries them upward again till they grasp a higher and more distant one, and thus continue their headlong flight. In these perilous achievements wonder is excited less by the surpassing agility of these little creatures (frequently encumbered as they are by their young, which cling to them in their career) than by the quickness of their eye and the unerring accuracy with which they seem almost to calculate the angle at which a descent will enable them to cover a given distance, and the recoil to attain a higher altitude."

The same writer then goes on to say that in the hills the typical black form of this monkey is replaced by the so-called bear monkey. "The natives, who designate the latter as the Maha, or Great Wanderu, to distinguish it from the Kala, or Black one (the typical purple-faced monkey), with which they are familiar, describe it as much wilder and more powerful than its congener of the lowland forests. It is rarely seen by Europeans, this portion of the country having till very recently been but partially opened ; and even now it is difficult to observe its habits, as it seldom approaches the few roads which wind through these deep solitudes. At early morning, ere the day begins to dawn, its loud and peculiar howl, which consists of a quick repetition of the sounds how, how! may be frequently heard in the mountain jungles, and forms one of the characteristic noises of these lofty situations." There is a record of one of these monkeys having attacked a native laden with a bag of rice.

THE CAPPED LANGUR (Semnopithecus pileatus).

Of somewhat smaller dimensions than the hanuman is the capped langur of Assam and the neighbouring districts of North-Eastern India and Upper Burma.

This species may be readily distinguished from the Nilgiri langur and the purplefaced monkey (with its varieties) by the hair of the crown of the head being longer than that on the occiput and temples, thus having somewhat the appearance of a cap, from which character the species derives its name.

In colour this monkey varies from a dusky-grey to a brownish ashy-grey on the upper parts ; the upper part of the back, and sometimes also the crown of the head, being darker. The hands and feet are dark or black above, but occasionally some or all of the fingers may be yellowish. The tail is dark-brown, but may be black at the tip. The face is always black, but the sides and lower parts of the head, as well as the neck, vary from a golden brown or orange to a pale yellow or yellowish-white tint. The light colour of the sides of the face extends backwards to a line just above the ears, so that, with the light-coloured nape of the neck, the dark cap is well defined, and gives to this monkey a peculiar and distinctive appearance.

According to Mr. Blanford, nothing is known of its habits in a wild state, although they are probably very similar to those of most of the other species of the genus. In captivity it is said to be gentle if captured when quite young, but if not taken till adult it is morose and savage, this being especially the case with old males."

[Quelle: Lydekker, Richard <1849-1915>: The royal natural history / edited by Richard Lydekker ; with preface by P.L. Sclate. -- London ; New York : F. Warne, 1893-96. -- 6 Bde. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm. -- Bd. 1. -- S. 69 - 74; 77 - 80. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-27]


"Semnopithecus entellus. The Langur or Hanuman Monkey.

Simia entellus, Dufresne, Butt. Soc. Phil. 1797, p. 49.
Semnopithecus entellus, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xii, p. 169, xiii, p. 470 ; Hutton, P. Z. S. 1867, p. 944; Anderson, An. Zool. Res. p. 15; id. Cat. p. 35.'
? S. anchises, Elliot, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xiii, p. 470, xvi, p. 733.
Presbytis entellus, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xvi, pp. 372, 1271, pi. liv, fig. 1 ; id. Cat. p. 11 ; Jerdon, Mam. p. 4.

Langūr and Hanumān, Hindi ; Wānar, Marathi ; Musya *, Canarese ; Kode, Kūrg; Sārā, Korku (Sātpura Hills) and Ho (Kol).

No crest. Hair on the crown of the head radiating in all directions from a point about one-third the distance back from the eyebrows to the occiput. Ears large, not covered by the hair of the cheeks. Hair of the body of the same colour throughout, and generally somewhat wavy.

Colour. Head, body, limbs, and tail pale earthy or greyish brown, or pale isabelline throughout ; hands and feet always black above. The back and the outside of the limbs are sometimes darker, and the lower parts paler; the head too is said to be occasionally lighter in colour, but the difference is not great. Face, ears, and soles of hands and feet black.

Dimensions. Average size of an adult male : head and body about 2 feet long ; tail, without hair at end, 38 inches. Females are rather less. Large males measure considerably more ; head and body 30 inches, or even more according to Jerdon. Weight of a male 22 lbs., of a female 18 lbs. An adult male skull measures : extreme length from alveolar border of premaxillaries to back of head 5-05 inches, to foramen (basal length) 3-6, width across the zygomatic arches 4.

Distribution. The northern portion of the Indian Peninsula, including South-western Bengal, Orissa, the Central Provinces, Bombay, Guzerat, Southern Rajputana and part of the N.W. Provinces, extending to Kattywar and probably to Cutch ( J. A. S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 220), but not to Sind or the Punjab. Hutton states that this species is not indigenous east of the Hugli or north of the Ganges, and of a line drawn westward from Allahabad to near Bundi on the Chambal, and that colonies found near certain Hindu shrines, as Muttra in the North-west Provinces and Kishnagurh in Bengal, have been introduced. The latter is probable, but it is certain that Langurs occur in the Oudh Terai, and generally along the base of the Himalaya (Jerdon mentions their occurrence near Pankabari, in Sikhim), and they are more likely to be this species than S. schistaceus. It is remarkable that the range of so well-known an animal should be so imperfectly ascertained.

The southern limit of S. entellus also needs verification. This is certainly the species inhabiting the Bombay Deccan; but Blyth mentions (J. A. S. B. xiii, p. 471) an immature black-handed specimen from Coimbatore, well within the range of the palehanded P. priamus, and Lydekker has referred to S. entellus the remains from the Kurnool caves. The range of this Langur on the Eastern coast extends, I believe, south of the Godavery.

Habits. Few, if any, wild animals afford better opportunities for observation than the Hanuman Monkey of Northern and Central India. Generally protected, and looked upon as sacred by many of the Hindu inhabitants, it has no fear of man and may be found in groves near villages, or even in the village trees, as commonly as in the depths of the forest. In many parts of India it is a common occurrence to see these monkeys on the roofs of houses. They frequently pilfer food from the grain-dealers' shops, whilst the damage they inflict on gardens and fields renders them so great a nuisance that the inhabitants of the country, although they will not as a rule kill the monkeys themselves, sometimes beg Europeans to shoot the intruders.

S. entellus feeds on fruit and grain, seed, seed-pods (for instance gram), leaves and young shoots, the last two forming a large portion of its food. Certain vegetable poisons are said to be taken by this monkey with impunity, doses of 5 and even 10 grains of strychnine having been given to one without effect, although the same drug killed Macacus rhesus quickly.

The Hanuman is usually found in smaller or larger communities, composed of individuals of both sexes and of all ages, the youngest clinging to their mothers and being carried by them, especially when alarmed. An old male is occasionally found solitary, as with so many other mammals. The story that males and females live in separate troups, though apparently believed by Blyth and quoted by Jerdon, I agree with Hutton in regarding as fictitious, though, as the latter observer justly remarks, females with very young offspring may keep together and temporarily apart from the remainder of the troup to which they belong.

I also doubt the details of the story, quoted, like the last, from the ' Bengal Sporting Magazine' for 1836, of combats between the males for the possession of the females. But the occurrence of fights amongst these animals rests on good evidence. Mr. T. H. Hughes (Proc. A. S. B. 1884, p. 147) described a combat, witnessed by himself in April, between two communities of Hanurnans, apparently for the possession of a mango-grove. Only the champion males of each flock engaged at first, two from the larger flock, one from the smaller ; but after one of the former had been killed, his throat being torn open by his adversary's teeth, two females came to the assistance of the survivor, and the single champion of the opposite side was mortally wounded, whereupon several of the weaker flock appeared to be taken prisoners by the others. The whole account is very interesting.

Away from villages, the high trees on the banks of streams or of tanks, and, in parts of Central India, rocky hills are the favourite haunts of these monkeys. They are never found at a great distance from water. Whether on trees, on rocks, or on the ground they are exceedingly active.2

They leap with surprising agility and precision from branch to branch, and when pressed take most astonishing jumps. I have seen them cross from tree to tree, a space of 20 to 30 feet wide, with perhaps 40 or 50 feet in descent. They can run on all fours with considerable rapidity, taking long strides or rather bounds " (Jerdon). They leap from rock to rock as readily as from tree to tree. But great as their apparent speed is, McMaster found that on horseback he easily ran down a large male in a very short distance ; indeed, it is their power of bounding and the remarkable appearance they present whilst leaping, with their long tails turned over their backs, that convey the idea of speed, rather than the actual rapidity of their motions.

Their voice is loud and is often heard, especially in the morning and evening. The two commonest sounds emitted by them are a loud, joyous, rather musical call, a kind of whoop, generally uttered when they are bounding from tree to tree, and a harsh guttural note, denoting alarm or anger. The latter is the cry familiar to the tiger-hunter, amongst whose best friends is the Hanuman. Safely esconced in a lofty tree, or jumping from one tree to another as the tiger moves, the monkey by gesture and cry points out the position of his deadly enemy in the bushes or grass beneath, and swears at him heartily. It is marvellous to observe how these monkeys, even in the wildest forests, where human beings are rarely seen, appear to recognize the men as their friends, at least as allies against the tiger. It is a common but erroneous notion of sportsmen that this guttural cry is a sure indication of a tiger or leopard having been seen, whereas the monkeys quite as often utter it merely as an expression of surprise ; I have heard it caused by the sight of deer running away, and I believe that it is frequently due to the monkeys catching sight of men.

In confinement the Hanuman is, as Jerdon says, quite sedate and indolent. Older animals are not unfrequently morose and savage. None of this group are so docile or so amusing as the Macaci, and even in the wild state the Hanuman appears quieter, less possessed by an insatiable curiosity, less sportive, and also less quarrelsome. His behaviour is more in accordance with the extreme gravity of his appearance.

The female Hanumān is said not unfrequently to have twins, although one young at a time is the rule, as throughout the order. The period of gestation does not appear to have been ascertained, nor the age at which these monkeys become adult."

[Quelle: Blanford, W. T. <1832 – 1905>: Mammalia. -- 1888 - 1891. -- (Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma). -- S. 28 - 30. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-06]



OTHER NAMES. Scientific : Presbytes or Semnopithecus entellus.

Native : Langur, Hanuman, Hindi ; Wanur, Makur, Mahrathi; Musya, Canarese

HABITAT. Bengal and Central India.

DESCRIPTION. Pale dirty straw-colour, or ashy grey, darker on the shoulders and rump, paler on the head and lower parts ; hands feet, and face black. Male's head and body 30 in. long, tail 43 in.

"The Entellus monkey," says Sterndale, "is in some parts of India deemed sacred, and is permitted by the Hindus to plunder their grain-shops with impunity. ... In the forest the Langur lives on grain, fruit, the pods of leguminous trees, and young buds or leaves. The female has usually only one young one, though sometimes twins. The very young babies have not black but light-coloured faces, which darken afterwards. I have always found them most difficult to rear, requiring almost as much attention as a human baby.

Their diet and hours of feeding must be as systematically arranged ; and if cow's milk be given it must be freely diluted with water twothirds to one-third milk when very young, and afterwards decreased to one-half. They are extremely susceptible to cold. In confinement they are quiet and gentle whilst young, but the old males are generally sullen and treacherous. Jerdon says, on the authority of the Bengal Sporting Magazine (August 1836) that the males live apart from the females, who have only one or two males with each colony, and that they have fights at certain seasons, when the vanquished males receive charge of all the young ones of their own sex, with whom they retire to some neighbouring jungle. Blyth notices that in one locality he found only males of all ages, and in another chiefly females. I have found these monkeys mostly on the banks of streams in the forests of the Central Provinces ; in fact, the presence of them anywhere in arid jungles is a sign that water is somewhere in the vicinity. They are timid creatures, and I have never seen the slightest disposition about them to show fight, whereas I was once most deliberately charged by the old males of a party of Rhesus monkeys. I was at the time on field service during the Mutiny, and seeing several nursing mothers in the party, tried to run them down in the open and secure a baby ; but they were too quick for me, and on being attacked by the old males, I had to pistol the leader.

Blanford doubts the above story of the fights, but quotes an account of a "faction fight" between two troops containing both sexes."

[Quelle: Sterndale, Robert Armitage <1839-1902>: Sterndale’s Mammalia of India. -- A new and abridged ed., thoroughly revised and with an appendix on the Reptilia / by Frank Finn <1868 - 1932>. --  Calcutta, Simla : Thacker, Spink, 1929.  --  vii, 347 S. -- Ill. --  19 cm. -- First edition, 1884, published under title: Natural history of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon.. -- S. 7f. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-12]


"Presbytis Entellus.


Jerdon gives an excellent description of these monkeys when he says at page 3, that their bodies are "comparatively slender," and the Germans call them slim apes. Their long and slender "limbs, long tail, and the black face with an eye-brow of long" stiff black hairs pointing forwards, distinguish the Lungoors " from all other monkeys." Most travellers and all sportsmen in India are more or less acquainted with some of the varieties of these large and handsome monkeys which, standing very high on the legs, with bodies 30, and tails 43, inches in length, attaining (vide page 4 of Jerdon) a still larger size and in height and figure resembling greyhounds more than the baboons and apes generally seen in menageries and with showmen, are to be seen in most forests and, in Upper and Central India, in the plantations, groves, or gardens close to most villages and temples ; but those who have not watched them when alarmed or excited, or who have only seen them in confinement as melancholy-looking prisoners, or when, made insolent by the reverence paid to them by pious Hindoos, they lounge in indolent familiarity and perfect impunity about gardens, grain stores and temples, can hardly realize their wonderful power and grace in jumping. All sportsmen must like Jerdon "have seen them cross from tree to tree," a space of 20 to 30 feet wide, with perhaps 40 to 50 feet in "descent and alight in safety on the branch they sought." I think that I have seen even more astonishing and bolder springs made by them from one rock to another. But although it is not easy to over-estimate the grace, precision and wonderful activity of these creatures in their movements among trees or rocks, I do not agree with Jerdon as to their rapidity when on " all fours."

When at Russelcoudah, I came on a small foraging party on two or three trees about half a mile from the wooded hill in which were their head-quarters. Being well mounted and in the hope of a gallop at new game, I had them turned out of the trees and laid into their leader, an immense male, with an idea that he would give me a rattling burst before I closed with him. The ground was dry rice land, with high banks, and therefore I thought more in favor of monkey than horse ; yet I closed with the poor brute in a very few fields, and after one or two sharp turns so pressed " Entellus" that he threw himself down in despair, cursing me most heartily I doubt not, but looking so miserable that I had not heart to hit him with my riding stick, I had not a spear, and was contented with throwing my hat in his face, and allowing him to go unhurt in body, whatever he may have been in mind.

The horse, an Arab stallion of pure blood made eager in encounter by having been ripped by his first boar, an accident which as often improves a bold as it mars a faint-hearted hunter, certainly was a glorious one in pursuit of any animal that could be speared and enjoyed closing with it most keenly, but in this case I think I could have done nearly as much off a clever pony."

[Quelle: MacMaster, Andrew Cooke: Notes on Jerdon's Mammals of India / By an Indian Sportsman and Lover of Natural History. -- Madras : Higginbotham, 1871. -- S. 1f. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-13]



" There he quaffd the undefiled
Spring, or hung with apelike glee,
By his teeth or tail or eyelid,
To the slippery mango-tree."
Fly Leaves.

"A troupe of Fawnes and Satyres far away
Within the wood were dauncing in a round."
The Faerie Queene.

BIRDS form the most conspicuous feature in the vertebrate Fauna of Indian gardens, but almost every garden of any considerable size is inhabited or visited by mammals of various kinds. Monkeys are rare in the immediate neighbourhood of Calcutta. Were they as abundant as they are in many other parts of India, gardening would have been rendered well-nigh impossible, for to contend with them as well as with the local crows would have been a hopeless task indeed. During all my time in Calcutta I never saw wild monkeys of any kind on that side of the river Hugli on which the town proper is situated, but in the suburbs of the farther bank, although the common bandar, Macacus rhesus, does not seem to occur, troops of langurs, Semnopithecus entellus, every now and then wander in from the neighbouring country. They pay regular visits to the Botanic Garden at the times at which certain kinds of trees mature their fruit, but, owing to their relatively quiet habits and the thickly-wooded character of the place, their presence often escapes notice. They are strangely still as compared with common bandars, who go on perpetually yelping and talking to one another, and it is quite astonishing to observe the quietness with which a troop of such large animals can travel about over the tree-tops, so long as they are not alarmed, or on a journey from one of their haunts to another. A band of langurs was in the Botanic Garden when a tiger escaped from the menagerie of the late King of Oudh in Garden Reach, and swam across the river. Until he invaded the garden the monkeys had moved about so quietly that no one was aware of their presence, but no sooner had he landed than they revealed themselves by following him about and scolding loudly from the trees overhanging the places at which he halted and the tracks that he followed in moving from one covert to another.

Where they occur in small numbers and only occasionally make their appearance, any damage that langurs may do is made good by the pleasure afforded by their exhibitions of agility in climbing and leaping among the branches, and, even where they abound, the society of such handsome animals is preferable to that of such debasedly hideous ones as common bandars. But, in places in which they are present in large numbers, the amount of mischief that they are guilty of when invading gardens and houses becomes very objectionable. In some Indiantowns they seem almost entirely to replace common monkeys. This is very marked in the case of Ahmedabad, where they are constantly to be seen on the tops of the houses, and where the trees in the gardens are full of troops of them, leaping and swinging about among the branches. It is almost impossible to see a party of them among trees and rocks, some sitting in serious meditation, and others indulging in the wildest gambols, without remembering the striking passage in the Bible in which the picture of anticipated desolation is accentuated by the statement that "satyrs shall dance there."

Himalayan langurs, S. schistaceus, are very common and troublesome in some hill-stations. They abound on the Simla Hill, where troops of them are often to be seen storming along through the tops of the trees overhanging the roads, or precipitating themselves headlong downwards through the forest, clothing the precipitous slopes of the great khads.

It is hard for any one who has had much acquaintance with localities infested by common Bengal monkeys to find a good word to say of them. Their appearance and habits, and the amount of mischief that they do are enough to arouse hatred even in the most animal-loving mind. They are specially obtrusive in the towns of Banaras and Mathura, and in the latter one may always derive some amusement from the study of their behaviour at the ghat on the Jamna at which the sacred river-tortoises are fed with doles of gram and other vegetables provided by the piety of pilgrims. When a store of food is thrown into the water, the tortoises come to the surface in such crowds that their backs form a more or less continuous raft extending for yards out into the stream in front of the steps, and intercepting a good deal of the materials intended for them. A tempting bait is thus provided for the monkeys, who are always swarming on the neighbouring buildings, and who troop down to venture boldly out on the moving mass, keeping a sharp look-out for the vicious snaps of the reptilian beaks, and quite undeterred by the fact that the loss of a limb every now and then attends these risky exploits.

In the suburbs of Calcutta one is occasionally favoured by visits from monkeys who are not natives of the place, but who have either escaped from captivity or are allowed by their owners to roam at large. So long as the visitor is a Hoolock, ylobates hoolock, it would take a hard heart not to welcome him. Fortunately, they are usually the only monkeys that are allowed to go loose, a privilege which they owe to their gentle, inoffensive habits, and to the fact that they very seldom remain in good condition when closely confined. When at liberty they become wonderftilly tame, and often make regular rounds of calls on their friends, especially at times when desirable articles of food are likely to be met with. One that inhabited the suburb of Alipur during the time that I lived there was very often about in the lanes, and more than once, whilst I was riding leisurely along beneath an overhanging mass of bamboos or other dense cover, I was startled by finding a long slender arm suddenly passed round my neck and a little cold hand clasping my throat as the animal descended to take his place on my shoulder until he reached a point that he desired to visit, and departed with as little ceremony as he had come.

[Quelle: Cunningham, D. D. (David Douglas) <1843-1914>: Some Indian friends and acquaintances; a study of the ways of birds and other animals frequenting Indian streets and gardens. --  London : J. Murray, 1903. -- viii, 423 S. : Ill. ; 21 cm. -- S. 262 - 266. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-15]